Civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) has said new voter ID laws reflect old Jim Crow laws, and CNN's Carol Costello played right into his outlandish rhetoric on Friday morning.
"Are you kind of stunned we're talking about these kinds of things in this day and age, with your history, I mean?" Costello asked the liberal congressman of the debate over voter ID laws. He answered in the affirmative and again likened voter ID laws to Jim Crow.
The hosts of Good Morning America on Monday fawned over Congressman John Lewis, who once compared Republicans to Nazis. GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts gushed that the liberal Democrat is a "living legend." Weatherman Sam Champion described him as a "true hero." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Lewis appeared on the show to promote his new book on the civil rights era, but at no time did he face any tough questions. Roberts ignored the issues of the day, such as Eric Holder (who the Congressman has been vocal about). Some parts of Roberts' interview didn't even qualify as questions: "You write, 'Don't give in, don't give up.'"
MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts harangued Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage on today's "MSNBC Live". "Why do you feel [gays] are less than you and don't deserve equal rights?" asked Roberts.
Yesterday it was Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee. Today, it's Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. Asked by a reporter from NB sister site CNSNews.com which constititional provision authorizes Congress to require Americans purchase health insurance, Lewis first quoted the Declaration of Independence, then the Fourteenth Amendment, then just claimed that health care is a "right, not a privledge." Check out the video below the jump.
On Saturday’s Good Morning America on ABC, during an interview with Dr. Alveda King – a niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. known for her pro-life activism – substitute host Ron Claiborne challenged her to defend her participation in conservative talker Glenn Beck’s "Restoring Honor" rally in two out of the three questions he posed to her. The ABC host asked if she was "comfortable aligning yourself" with Beck – considered "inflammatory and divisive" by "many people." After failing to get Dr. King to criticize the conservative talker, Claiborne seemed to appeal to her to "understand at least" why some agree with Democratic Congressman John Lewis’s assessment of the Beck rally as an "affront" to the Civil Rights Movement. Claiborne's second and third questions:
Many people call Glenn Beck's political views and style inflammatory and divisive. Are you comfortable, are you comfortable aligning yourself with someone who once called President Obama a racist?
Well, Congressman John Lewis, who, of course, stood beside your uncle 47 years ago and marched many times for civil rights, has said that Beck's rally is an affront to what the Civil Rights Movement stood for. When you hear that kind of talk, can you understand, at least, how some people could interpret it that way?
The interview with Dr. King came right after a report filed by correspondent Claire Shipman which, similarly to her report from Friday’s GMA, assigned such labels at "right-wing" and "controversial" to Beck, while the Reverend Al Sharpton’s own controversial history was not mentioned, nor was his liberal ideology.
The question of racism in the amorphous Tea Party movement is, of course, a serious one, since so much of the Republican Party seems to be in the thrall of its activists. There have been scattered reports around the country of racially charged rhetoric within the movement, most notably just before the vote on the new health care law last March, when Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, the legendary civil rights leader, was showered with hateful epithets outside the Capitol.The portion in bold above has now been omitted from the online version of Bai's story. Here's the correction, in Sunday's edition:
Are the mainstream media playing fast and loose with their coverage of the tea parties and what the tea party activists believe? Andrew Breitbart says they are, and points to accusations of racism.
Breitbart spoke at one of the tea party events held near the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. on April 15. He said his involvement in the movement began when he realized how the media would react to the Tea Party movement and detailed an incident in which Contessa Brewer's MSNBC cropped out the face of a black man in footage of a tea party event to make the movement appear to lack diversity.
"I think that we're going to have a problem if we want to start talking about founding fathers, the founding documents, what the origins of our country because the mainstream media is not going to like what you have to say, and so I volunteered myself," Breitbart said. "And on day one, I had to contend with the fact that you guys were called ‘teabaggers.' And I had to deal with the fact an unfortunately named sister, by the name of Contessa Brewer on MSNBC, before you even spoke, told you what your grievances were to the country and our dissent his patriotic presidency. This person took a photo and cut off the head of a black man, and asked is the tea party nation - are the people who are protesting Barack Obama racist? The person was black."
...I checked with my source on the scene, Greg Farrell, to get a timeline on the passage of the Black Caucus members from the Cannon Building to the Capitol and back. According to Farrell, they left the Cannon Building about 2:30 PM on March 20th and returned about 3:15 PM. He had no reason to exaggerate.
I asked because at 4:51 that same day, McClatchy reporter William Douglas posted an article on the McClatchy website with the inflammatory headline, "Tea party protesters scream 'nigger' at black congressman."
In other words, Douglas, with an attributed assist from James Rosen, managed to interview representatives John Lewis, Emanuel Cleaver, and Barney Frank, compose an 800-word article, and have it edited and formatted for posting within a 90-minute window.
What does it say about the Huffington Post when one of their religion bloggers traffics in unproven charges about supposed racial slurs hurled at Congressman John Lewis at the March 20 Tea Party in Washington D.C.? Here is Eddie Glaude, Jr., Professor of Religion at Princeton University, performing his Pinocchio impression:
The word n----er found its way back into our national conversation recently. Some tea party activists hurled the epithet at Congressman John Lewis. Along the way they called Representative Barney Frank a faggot and spat on Congressman Emanuel Cleaver. This venom was supposedly provoked by health care reform; it only revealed how debased our public conversation has become.
Since Obama's health care legislation has been signed into law, the media have been in overdrive about the backlash - whether it's been former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's "reload" metaphor "targeting" certain congressional districts or how Republican lawmakers have supposedly encouraged violence by their floor rhetoric.
Media personalities and Tea Party movement detractors have been agog - saying this is unprecedented rhetoric in our political culture, especially when it has come from members of Congress. But that's simply not true.
For one example, go back to 1995 during the welfare-reform debate. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who is now embroiled in a controversy as to whether a Tea Party protester hurled a racial epithet at him, employed the use of his own Nazi invective. (h/t MRC Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham)
"Read the Republican contract," Lewis said on the House floor on March 21, 1995. "They're coming for our children. They're coming for the poor. They're coming for the sick, the elderly and the disabled." Lewis's comment paraphrased a famous passage by Rev. Martin Niemöller, who was in the resistance against the Nazis.
There is $10,000 just waiting to be picked up by Al Sharpton. That is the prize money that Andrew Breitbart has offered to anyone who can reveal a video of Tea Party protestors in Washington, D.C. on March 20 who supposedly screamed the N-word at Congressman John Lewis. This "incident" first came to light when David Kerly breathlessly reported on it for ABC's World News Tonight:
...In fact, Cleaver, Emanuel Cleaver was together with John Lewis – they were walking over to the Capitol when somebody spit on Congressman Cleaver and yelled the ‘N’ word at Congressman Lewis. Cleaver was taken to police headquarters. He did ID the man, but he is not going to press charges. He’s not speaking about it. Lewis is not going to speak about it...
Yes, Kerly reported the racial invective as an absolute fact. Only one small problem. Despite the fact that many cameras were recording this scene, not one video has yet been produced proving this despite the fact that Andrew Breitbart has now offered a $10,000 cash incentive to do so:
It’s time for the allegedly pristine character of Rep. John Lewis to put up or shut up. Therefore, I am offering $10,000 of my own money to provide hard evidence that the N- word was hurled at him not 15 times, as his colleague reported, but just once. Surely one of those two cameras wielded by members of his entourage will prove his point.
Hulse first laid into "venomous" conservative protesters on Sunday afternoon, in his contribution to the live blogging of the House debate at nytimes.com. From his 3:25 p.m. post "Angry, Vituperative Protests."
The mood inside the House chamber was tense as lawmakers headed toward climactic health care votes on Sunday, but the atmosphere outside the Capitol was downright venomous.
As the House engaged in initial parliamentary maneuvering, hundreds of anti-reform protesters gathered on the south side of the Capitol between the building and the House office buildings across Independence Avenue, chanting and jeering Democrats and applauding House Republicans who egged them on.